London 2012 Olympic Ceremonies
Atelier One were appointed as structural engineers for all four Ceremonies at the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic games. The budget for the Ceremonies was in the order of £80 million and the variety and complexity of the project was huge. We began work on the project a year before the opening ceremony the first significant structures being the two cable nets. The first net was to support the 22 clusters of PA equipment, each weighing 2.5 tonnes and suspended off the front edge of the roof. The second was the radial net to support and move the large scenic elements during the shows. We have engineered many shows in a number of venues, and have a full understanding of the demands that modern shows can put on a building. Clear strategic criteria, and loading allowances, have to be developed in the early design phase to not overly restrict the type of performances that can be accommodated at the venue.
The second phase of the project involved designing the main stage to accommodate 8000 athletes, and the Tor structure to cater for an additional 2000 performers. These numbers were unprecedented on a raised stage and took a lot of technical development. The original stadia structure could not accommodate the Tor which necessitated back propping at significant additional expense. The main issue with both structures was the dynamic effects of large numbers of people moving in sync creating lateral forces and motion. Innovative methods were developed to provide not only stability but also methods of measuring frequency to ensure no resonant ranges were developed.
Further design was carried out on all the scenic elements including the retractable chimneys, the flying Olympic rings, suspending a 23 tonne bell etc.
Creative director: Danny Boyle, Client: Olympic Delivery Authority, Completed: 2012